Effective Intermittent Fasting Secrets
Intermittent Fasting for Beginners
Fasting is nothing new. Skipping meals or even entire days of eating goes back thousands and thousands of years.
Intermittent fasting has been popular as of late, and is linked to multiple health benefits.
The positive reasons for fasting are anything but modern, however, as ancient Greeks fasted regularly to improve their mental and physical health profiles.
Pythagoras, ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, statesman and the founder of the Pythagorean Theorem, preached fasting to anyone who would listen.
He claimed it was a way to purify and cleanse the body, while offering spiritual and mental enlightenment and creating a better physical body.
Renaissance physician Paracelsus gave a specific name to fasting.
He called this eating practice the “Physician Within”, because it seemed to deliver so many health benefits.
In some primitive cultures fasting was required before going off to war, and also as a sign of a young person entering adulthood.
The Jewish religion still embraces fasting these days, as a spiritual enhancement rather than a provider of health benefits.
Modern Roman Catholics are restricted as to what food they can eat during the 40 days of Lent, and Muslims fast regularly during Ramadan, considered a holy month.
Fasting intentionally for health reasons became popular in the late 1800s in the United States.
About that same time and into the early 20th century, UK citizens took part in what was called a “nature cure”.
This involved fasting, exercise, exposure to sunshine and fresh air, all with the intent of improving mental and physical health.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and fasting has become popular as a health practice.
There are different ways to fast, different periods of time during which very little to nothing is eaten.
Some fasts last for 24 hours, while others require abstinence from eating for a certain amount of time during the day.
This beginner’s guide to intermittent fasting will introduce you to the many substantial benefits of different types of fasting, as well as the most popular and proven intermittent fasting practices.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Consider the word intermittent as meaning “stop and go”.
If you are familiar with driving a vehicle during a rainstorm, you have probably noticed that nature is very fickle.
Sometimes you have to have your windshield wipers on high, because the rain is coming down as if you are in the middle of a biblical flood reconstruction.
Then out of nowhere, the rain subsides, and your wipers make an aggravating, squeaking noise as they move across your windshield.
You turn off your wipers, and that is the same time the rain picks up again.
Before the invention of the intermittent windshield wiper setting, you played an “all or nothing”, high, low or off game with your wipers.
Then some smart soul created an intermittent setting, where your wipers pass back and forth over your windshield … pause … and then wipe again.
That is what intermittent fasting is all about; eating… then pausing… then eating again.
You may eat over an 8-hour period during the day, then fast for 16 hours.
You might eat normally for 5 days in a 7-day period and then fast for 2 consecutive days.
Perhaps you eat every other day. In some way, you fast (skip eating regularly) for a significant period of time, eat normally, and then fast again.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and proven methods of intermittent fasting for health reasons.
The 5/2 Weekly Fast
There are lots of books out which extol the benefits of the 5/2 fasting plan.
You have probably figured out that you are going to be eating for 5 days in a row, and then skipping 2 consecutive days of eating, every 7 days. If the idea of going 48 hours without food seems impossible to you, don’t worry.
You will be eating some food. On the 2 days where you will skip your normal eating practices, you want to consume no more than 500 or 600 calories (cal) each day.
Many people point to British doctor and writer Michael Mosley as the founder of the 5 days on, 2 days off fasting diet.
Regardless of who came up with this method of fasting, it has been linked to the considerable health benefits of the other intermittent eating plans mentioned in this report.
You can lose weight if you are overweight, and maintain a healthy body weight.
You reduce your risk of developing heart disease, obesity, multiple cancers, diabetes, skin and hair problems, and a host of minor and major mental conditions.
You can tweak this to fit your personality and unique situation. You may want to skip eating on the weekends.
If Saturday and Sunday are your two days off from work, you may not want to restrict your eating then. In that case, choose two consecutive weekdays instead.
You also may eat Monday and Tuesday, skip Wednesday, eat Thursday, skip eating Friday and then eat regularly over the weekend.
As with all intermittent fasting plans, you should drink lots of water every day.
Get lots of sleep. Exercise and stay physically active regularly.
Choose healthy, raw, fresh fruits and vegetables when you can, avoid sugar, fast foods and white flour, and prepare your own meals if possible.
Women are recommended to eat no more than 500 cal on their fast days, and men no more than 600 cal.
The 24-Hour Fast
You skip eating for an entire day once or twice a week. This is similar in nature to the 5/2 plan, with one major exception.
When you are just beginning to restrict an entire day’s calorie consumption to 500 or 600 cal or less, it may be difficult to do this for a couple of days your first week.
The 24-hour fast is practiced either 1 or 2 days each week, so in the beginning, just sacrifice one day of normal eating.
With any intermittent fasting plan you want to avoid carbonated beverages, energy drinks, soft drinks and store-bought juices and smoothies.
You need to be careful about what liquids you put into your body as well as foods, as a part of any smart nutrition plan.
On your fasting days, you may drink water, coffee (with no cream or sugar), herbal tea and other zero-calorie drinks. To help fight hunger pangs, drink lots of water.
Eat mostly healthy foods on the days which you do eat, and try to fit in 3 major meals and 2 or 3 snacks.
This has been proven to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders, and when you focus on healthy foods as opposed to fast food and processed foods and drinks, you stay full all day long.
Remember that your fasting days don’t have to be from midnight to midnight.
If the last time you ate yesterday was 7 PM, you can eat again at 7:01 PM today if this is a fasting day.
You may want to begin by fasting for 14 or 16 or 18 hours rather than 24 hours to get the hang of the process.
Every Other Day Fast
If you have tried the 5/2 or 24-hour intermittent fasts for a few weeks and you are not getting the results you had hoped for, try stepping up your game.
The every other day fast, also referred to as the alternate day fast, has you eating no more than 500 or so calories every other day.
As is mentioned several times throughout this report, this doesn’t mean your 500 cal days should be junk food, energy drinks and soft drinks, and you should not start off with a morning coffee filled with unhealthy cream and sugar.
You should still focus on healthy foods, fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef and wild caught-fish, and pasture-raised eggs and poultry.
Another practice preached over and over in this report is to stay hydrated.
That means drinking lots of water. Two out of three adults do not hydrate properly, and this can lead to both mental and physical health problems.
Understand that the alternate day fast may not be sustainable long-term.
Most people will find it difficult to restrict their eating every other day to just 500 or 600 cal.
Additionally, if you are not eating enough on the days which you eat regularly, your fasting days could lead to unhealthy cravings which knock you off of your plan altogether.
Try the every other day fast for 6 or 8 weeks, and then see where you are physically and mentally.
A lot of people use this intermittent fasting plan to reach specific health goals, and then they return to a 5/2 or 16/8 fasting schedule because they are easier to maintain, while still delivering considerable health benefits.
How would you like to lose weight, get healthier, have more energy and enjoy better mental cognition by eating a monster meal once a day?
With the warrior fasting method, you eat nothing but a few raw veggies and fruits during the day, and then you enjoy a huge meal at night.
You can eat for 4 hours, focusing on paleo-approved foods. Foods approved by the paleo diet mean you won’t be eating grains, milk and dairy, processed foods, refined sugar, any food that has white flour, and highly processed meats.
You can enjoy eggs and grass-fed beef, as well as wild-caught seafood and free-range poultry that has not been fed corn or grains.
You can drink as much water as you like, as well as herbal tea and a little coffee with nothing added.
Healthy fats like coconut and almond oil, grass-fed butter, ghee and extra virgin olive oil are allowed.
You can also get healthy fats in nuts, but restrict the amount of nuts you eat every day.
The same is true with fruits, which should be eaten sparingly.
You’re going to be eating a lot of plant-based foods, leafy greens and other healthy vegetables.
Try to eat protein at every warrior meal, as your body requires protein in every cell. Protein also helps you feel full longer.
During your 20-hour non-eating window, you can enjoy raw vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts and seeds, remembering to drink lots of water throughout the day.
This is a “fast” or “feast” diet plan that may not be sustainable long term. Remember that during your 4-hour eating window you want to have one big meal.
You can also eat smaller portions of food during that timeframe, but try to spend a good 45 minutes or 60 minutes slowly eating and enjoying a large, healthy meal.
The 16/8 Daily Fast
There are 24 hours in the day. This form of intermittent fasting breaks your day into two separate time periods – 16 hours and 8 hours.
Your 16 hour of fasting begins immediately after you finish eating your last meal of the day.
When that timeframe is complete, you can start eating, and you have 8 hours to eat 2 or 3 meals and a few snacks.
The emphasis should still be on healthy foods, so this doesn’t mean that you can take a booth at McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken and eat unhealthy fast food for 8 hours every day.
This is currently the most sustainable and science-backed intermittent fasting plan. Believe it or not, just about anyone can adopt their lifestyle to this fasting practice.
After only two or three days you will find your body and mind adapting to this healthy eating schedule. Some intermittent fasting advocates combine the 16/8 daily plan with an occasional 24 hour fast for maximum results.
You may have heard about the book titled “Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus”.
It points out several different ways that men or women are different, in the hopes of creating a better understanding between the sexes in order to improve relationships.
Evidently, one of the differences between men and women that is physiological in nature is the way their bodies respond to this particular form of fasting.
Where men should practice a 16 hours off, 8 hours on fast, women benefit most from a 14/10 or 15/9 fast.
Do you remember as a child when your parents chastised you for skipping meals?
Try the meal skipping intermittent fasting practice for a few weeks, and then let your parents know how you have benefited in so many ways.
Some people have busy personal lives and careers that do not work well with other intermittent fasting plans.
This is where occasional meal skipping saves the day.
You can still enjoy the improved mental focus and mental energy, more physical energy and better overall health that fasting delivers.
Instead of going extended periods of time (sometimes 24 hours) without eating, you simply skip a meal whenever it is convenient for you.
Contrary to what you were taught as a child, the human body does not need 3 big meals every day to stay healthy.
The brain and body benefits delivered by fasting prove that eating 3 traditional meals each day is not necessary for health and wellness.
In the United States, as in many other modern countries, the 3 meals a day eating program was built on research obtained from food manufacturers.
The people that make food obviously want you to eat more, and decades ago they got together and paid for research that was friendly to the 3 meals a day idea.
Be careful here, as you don’t want to skip so many meals during the week that you become malnourished.
You still want to eat healthy foods and avoid fast food and processed foods, and drink lots of water.
The idea is to skip a meal every now and then, either when you are not hungry or when it becomes convenient because of your personal or career schedule.
Fasting can heal your body.
It can deliver mind and body benefits. Fasting over a short timeframe can help you “reset” your body, and long-term fasting keeps you healthy and mentally sharp for life.
Fasting is a religious and health practice that is thousands of years old, and it still makes sense today for so many reasons.
When you combine healthy foods and exercise with your intermittent fasting regimen, you can live a longer life, and enjoy more healthy and happy years.